Cycad Seed Starting

I was recently visiting my Mom in Arizona, and I noticed that her cycad was fruiting. I tried bringing home some of these seeds a couple of years ago and I had no luck, but these looked different: reddish, not brown, and they fell off in my hand like any other ripe fruit. So I brought a bag home and looked up what to do with them. What follows is an amalgamation of info out there online.

First, it’s important to see which ones are viable. To do this, you place the seeds into a bucket or bowl of water. The viable ones will sink. Last time, all my seeds floated, so I went no further. This year, they all stayed at the bottom of the bowl. Encouraging!

Then, procedures varied: some said to take the outer coating off with a paring knife, but I couldn’t do that easily and I was afraid I’d damage the seeds within. Some just breezily directed me to peel off the coating, but it was hard and quite adhered to the seed. Plus, I had some ladies over for mah jongg and got distracted. So I just let the seeds soak for until I could get to them. After two days, I donned rubber gloves (apparently all parts of the seed are toxic) and was easily able to peel off the reddish coating to reveal the large tan seeds within.

After soaking
After red seed coat is removed

Directions then said to lay the seeds on the surface of potting medium and slightly press them in, but not to cover them completely. Then I’m to keep them warm and moist until they sprout in a couple of months. Fingers crossed!

Keeping them warm and moist
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